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Union member gets quick financial relief from Union Plus grant

Posted on June 5, 2013
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Ufcw hospital grant recipient

As an active union member, Maureen Bicknase knows the many benefits of being a member of United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 99. But she recently learned that some-like the Union Plus Hospital Grant she received-aren't found in the pages of her bargaining contract.

"I appreciate that I can count on my union to provide good benefits â€" everything from health insurance and job security to the added benefits like the Union Plus Hospital Grant. I'm glad to be active in the union because it protects me in so many ways," says Bicknase. 

It is a devastating reality that sky-high hospital bills too often force Americans who are fighting for their health to drain their savings accounts, or worse, sink into debt. But union members with a Union Plus Credit Card or Teamster Prior Union Plus Mortgage, may be eligible to receive a hospital care grant from Union Plus to help pay off medical bills.

"The grant I received from Union Plus helped me deal with creditors so I could concentrate on getting better and returning to work. I've been healthy my entire life so I was really thrown off when an illness kept me from working," says Bicknase, who lives with her husband, Wayne, and two horses just outside of Tucson, AZ. "I have good insurance through my union â€" and I am thankful for that â€" but to know that added benefits were available to me was a real blessing."

The Hospital Grants are designed to provide quick financial relief. To apply for a grant, you must have a Union Plus Credit Card or Union Plus Mortgage and face out-of-pocket hospital expenses (after insurance) that are at least 10 percent of your income for the hospitalization of a household member the last 12 months.

As Bicknase and millions of Americans have learned, it doesn't take long for hospital bills to consume a family's income. "The bills pile up in no time so I was glad to learn the grant money was available. The grant relieved a lot of stress and helped me pay my bills until I was able to get back to work."

After three months of being out of work, Bicknase, a bookkeeper, was happy to join her 30 unionized co-workers at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, where visitors around the world enjoy learning about the animals and plants unique to this region of the country. It's a workplace that Bicknase enjoys immensely, largely due to the existence of her union.

Union members may visit for more information on layoff, and disability grants available to Union Plus program participants.

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